Thursday, September 18, 2008

Encounters with Liberace

Lee Randall, Assistant Editor (Magazines & Arts) of The Scotsman writes me of her encounter with Liberace. It's so well done I had to share it ....

Many years ago I "met" Liberace. For reasons that too many Vodka Gimlets have obscured in my memory, he was at the American Booksellers Association convention (ABA) back in the day, when I still worked in book publishing. We were knocking down our stalls and he was trotted around for hellos (again, no idea why).

Even though it was the end of a too-long day, he was elegance epitomised - wearing the most luscious pale suit with a magnificent crisp shirt and a wonderful tie (my memory's fixed these as greys and lilacs and pale blues); his hair was immaculate, his macquillage sublime (ie: there, but not TOO there), and he had one ring on each finger: a huge, perfect, round cabochon agate - again in those same colour ranges - set in gold. Not at all tacky, not at all Vegas, just old style celebrity like they didn't even make any more back then.

As I say, he was magnificent to behold, and he was the most gracious, most pleasant, most well mannered individual one could ever hope to encounter in this kind of "drive by" meeting. . .

So, that would have been late May 1986. By February he was dead. I was knocked sideways - he'd looked so healthy, so happy, so together at the convention. It was around that time that my own friends started dropping like flies, and I saw at close range how swiftly and inexorably Aids could move. Still, better that than the friends I watched linger while all quality of life eked away.

Duncan Fallowell recalls ...

I met him a couple of times at AD8, April's restaurant. Huge, sweet, like a scented polar bear raised on chocolate.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah,Liberace. As a child,I remember watching him on T.V. Apparently, someone told him he must never look at the audience. Fortunately, he did not listen and looked directly into the camera every time. He was beautiful to look at, always had this twinkle in his eye and a gracious refined manner. No wonder his fans fell head over heels for him.
I only hope that any future films about him will emphasize he great talent,showmanship and his charismatic appeal to all ages and not his sexual orientation.He brought beauty and grace to this world.Let us remember him for that and not for whom he shared a bed with.

Madame Arcati said...

It's funny but I hope that any Liberace biopic will show penetrative sex in between moments of sublime piano playing. I just think we should be spared nothing and that Michael Douglas and Matt Damon put their thesp skills to the maximum test. Is this tasteless of me?

Anonymous said...

Not tasteless at all - Liberace died from AIDS and you don't catch it from the piano.

Duralex said...

Not tasteless, chéri. Just useless.